Calls For Dennis Oliech Harambee Stars Return Gather Steam

Feb 04 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Legendary Gor Mahia FC striker entered football folklore on Sunday when he netted against Zamalek, 21 years after his late brother Steve Okumu achieved the feat against the White Knights in Nairobi

Dennis Oliech (C) of Kenya's Gor Mahia scores against Egypt's Zamalek during their CAF Confederations Cup match at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, on Februrary 3, 2019. Kenya's Gor Mahia won by 4-2 against Egypt's Zamalek. PHOTO/AFP

  • The SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions lead Group D standings on goal-difference, tied on three points with Algerian side, NA Hussein Dey who edged visiting Petro Atletico of Luanda 2-1 in the other fixture played in Algiers later Sunday
  • Okumu scored as Gor beat Zamalek 1-0 in Nairobi in 1998 and his younger brother, making his continental debut for K’Ogalo scored the fourth in Gor’s entertaining win at the MISC Kasarani Stadium, extending his arms just the same way as his brother did over two decades ago
  • “Dennis Oliech is still king,” Twitter user, Jacktone Onguso posted. Few can refute that

NAIROBI, Kenya- Calls for Dennis Oliech to be recalled in national team Harambee Stars gathered steam as a country celebrated the seasoned striker entering his name in football folklore on Sunday evening.

Oliech scored exactly 21 years after his late brother, Steve Okumu, netted against Egyptian giants Zamalek as Gor Mahia FC roared to a 4-2 victory over the White Knights to take charge of Group D of the 2018/19 CAF Confederations Cup.

MUST READ: Gor Humble Mighty Zamalek In Six-Goal Confed Cup Thriller

The SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions lead Group D standings on goal-difference, tied on three points with Algerian side, NA Hussein Dey who edged visiting Petro Atletico of Luanda 2-1 in the other fixture played in Algiers later Sunday.

Okumu scored as Gor beat Zamalek 1-0 in Nairobi in 1998 and his younger brother, making his continental debut for K’Ogalo scored the fourth in Gor’s entertaining win at the MISC Kasarani Stadium, extending his arms just the same way as his brother did over two decades ago.

“I dedicate this goal to my late brother. I knew I would come on and score and I wanted to celebrate in the exact same way he did. 

“I’m happy that we won. It is not about me but my team and I’m pleased with the result. This is behind us now and we focus on the next game,” Oliech told reporters after the game.

MUST READ: SportPesa Cup 2019: Who Will Be The Deadliest Striker Of All?

A Jacques Tuyisenge brace and a third from Nicholas Kipkurui, who came off injured for Oliech in the 66th minute, set Gor up for the epic victory after Zamalek fought back to level 2-2 at the break courtesy of an Ibrahim Hassan double.

The Kenyan legend then sealed added the seal to a roaring performance when he calmly slotted in the fourth in the 89th to send the Green Army into raptures.

Early goal

Gor head coach, Hassan Oktay, who had come under pressure following the SPL champion’s topsy-turvy start to the campaign hailed the result, challenging his side to go to Luanda and stun Atletico in their next Confed Cup group game.

“I was expecting this win because we did some good homework on Zamalek and watched their game against Pyramids (in the Egyptian league) and two other teams. We knew the way they play and tactically we were ready for them. I knew we could get something and I’m happy with the players,” Oktay noted.

MUST READ: Oliech Dream Winner Powers SPL Champions Gor Past Rangers

Christian Gross, the head coach of the White Knights who host Hussein Dey next rued their failure to press on their advantage after Hussein gave his side a seventh minute opener. 

“We have started in the wrong way but this is just one group stage game. We had the advantage of an early goal but we ended up conceding because of lapse of concentration in defence,” Gross who made his name by winning four Swiss titles with FC Basel after coaching Tottenham Hotspur FC and Stuttgart FC stated.

Naturally, Oliech hogged the headlines as his second coming to Kenyan football continues to conjure up moments of sheer quality few could have predicted when he came out of a two-year hiatus to sign with Gor.

Kenya's Denis Oliech (R) attempts to dribble past Guinea-Bisau's defender Bruno Fernandes (L) on September 3, 2011 during their African Cup of Nation's qualifying match at the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi. Kenya. PHOTO/AFP


His strike against the five-time African champions and Egyptian league leaders was the fourth in seven appearances for the record 17-time domestic league winners.

MUST READ: Oliech Second Coming Spices Mathare, Gor Crunch SPL Showdown

Local football fans and media outlets are calling for the man known as ‘Kajole’ to be part of the Harambee Stars team that will represent the country at the Egypt 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in June having captained the side until 2013 when then head coach Adel Amrouche stripped him of the armband.

Positive attitude

The former France Ligue 1 sides, Nantes, Auxerre and Ajaccio forward was a star for Kenya the last time they played at the biannual football showpiece in Tunisia 2004, scoring once and setting two when Stars floored Burkina Faso 3-1 for their only victory at the AFCON.

“Well aware that the burden of proof lies with him, Oliech has not let any opportunity to prove the national team selectors that he deserves a slot in the Harambee Stars squad pass,” Samuel Gacharira wrote in the Daily Nation on Monday.

MUST READ: He's Back! Dennis 'The Menace' Oliech Officially Signs For Gor Mahia

“I predict that Dennis Oliech will be in the team to represent Kenya in the AFCON. He has a very positive attitude and he is a team player. Gor Mahia has done us proud and they will make it to the quarters of the CAF,” sports presenter, Fred Arocho offered in a morning show on local television channel, Citizen TV.

“Dennis Oliech is still king,” Twitter user, Jacktone Onguso posted. Few can refute that.